KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J has formed a partnership with Food Donation Connection (FDC), an organization that works to help foodservice companies reduce food waste and feed those in need.
Through the Harvest Program, the travel center operator will donate wholesome, quality, surplus food items to local non-profits and food bank agencies to help families facing hunger.
The nationwide initiative between the two companies, both based in Knoxville, will combat hunger in areas where Pilot Flying J operates and aims to surpass their 2017 goal with more than 200,000 pounds of food donated in 2018.
"Food Donation Connection is proud to partner with Pilot Flying J to strengthen their commitment to helping their local communities," said Keith Crowe, project manager at Food Donation Connection. "All qualifying unserved food can now be donated to charities, local to Pilot Flying J travel centers throughout the U.S. This program will help feed those in need and will divert wholesome food from the waste stream — creating a win-win for all involved."
As part of the program, Pilot Flying J team members "harvest" fresh, surplus food, such as hot PJ Fresh pizza slices, burgers and premium breakfast sandwiches, and safely prepare and freeze it for donation to local food banks and shelters across the country, the company said.
Pilot Flying J has donated more than 172,500 pounds of surplus food to more than 161 charitable agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas since the Harvest Program launched in February.
Currently, 88 locations participate, and there are plans to expand the program to between 150 and 200 locations by the end of 2018.
"Pilot Flying J serves more than 1.2 million customers across North America each day, and we can serve so many more through effective food donations with the Harvest Program," said Will Haslam, director of giving for Pilot Flying J. "We are excited to partner with FDC to safely provide meals to those in need while reducing food waste, and continuing our commitment of offering fresh food options and high-quality meals for travelers on the road."
FDC assists foodservice companies with the development and implementation of Harvest Programs designed to provide an alternative to discarding surplus food. It has helped facilitate the safe donation of more than 500 million pounds of prepared food to 10,000 hunger relief organizations since 1992.
Pilot Flying J operates more than 750 retail locations in North America.